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      Report: Gomes’ stunning free-kick sees Everton edge Palace in FA Cup replay

      André Gomes 42'
      Crystal Palace

      Andre Gomes’ inch-perfect first-half free-kick was enough to send Everton through to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Crystal Palace, in a tight third round replay at Goodison Park.


      • Hodgson makes three changes, with Edouard, Hughes and Johnstone coming into the XI.
      • Johnstone is called into action early on, palming Calvert-Lewin’s effort behind.
      • Eze dances around two defenders, but his effort is saved by Virginia.
      • Gomes opens the scoring from 20 yards out with a curling free-kick.
      • Mitchell almost equalises instantly, his rasping attempt saved.
      • HT: Everton 1-0 Palace
      • Palace start the second-half brightly, with Lerma firing over the top from the edge of the area.
      • Edouard is denied by the legs of Virginia, the latest in a series of important saves.
      • Calvert-Lewin fires narrowly wide as Everton aim to double their lead.
      • Virginia produces a huge save in added time to deny Schlupp.
      • FT: Everton 1-0 Palace

      While the Eagles had the better chances across the evening, Everton were inspired by a moment of individual brilliance and held out amidst late Palace pressure to book a fourth round meeting with Luton Town at Goodison Park at the end of January.

      In the blistering cold of a January midweek on Merseyside, Sam Johnstone may have appreciated having his hands warmed by Andre Gomes’ early effort, which was straight at the ‘keeper and easy enough to collect.

      It took a far less routine save moments later to keep the scores level, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin raced in behind, brought the ball down superbly and struck towards the roof of the net. Johnstone reacted quickly to meet it with a firm left hand.

      If there is one sight no team in the land wants to see, it is Ebere Eze bearing down on the back four with the ball at his feet, and it was the Palace No. 10 who created Palace’s first real chance of the evening. Exchanging passes with Edouard, he demonstrated neat footwork to dance around the nearest marker and stroke the ball goalwards, but without the precision to beat Joao Virginia.

      A second opportunity in as many minutes followed, as Jefferson Lerma knocked the ball to Jeff Schlupp on the penalty spot, who guided it over the crossbar – the relief of the Everton ‘keeper.

      After a goalless first fixture, both sides were being reminded of how difficult they found it to break one another down at Selhurst Park, and after more than two hours of stalemate across the tie, it took something special to break the deadlock.

      Everton broke forwards, winning a free-kick 25 yards out after Lerma was forced to bring the attack to a halt – earning a yellow card in the process. Up stepped Gomes, who curled a sumptuous shot around the wall and past Johnstone, kissing the inside of the post on the way into the back of the net.

      Palace looked to respond straight away, and Virginia had to be at full concentration to prevent an instant equaliser. It came via Eze once again, whose close control in the penalty area allowed him to find Mitchell; a rasping strike towards the near post was palmed away.

      Behind at the break, the Eagles were left to rue the chances they failed to put away, while Everton could thank a moment of individual brilliance from Gomes for their lead.

      Palace could take encouragement from their ability to create chances in the first-half, and came out for the second full of attacking endeavour. Tyrick Mitchell was finding joy down the left-hand side, his cross finding Nathaniel Clyne who laid off for Lerma to strike over the crossbar.

      Roy Hodgson rolled the dice just after the hour mark, bringing on Matheus França, Naouirou Ahamada and Jairo Riedewald to try to find a way back into the game, with both full-backs making way in the process.

      Joao Virginia, deputising for Jordan Pickford, was taking his opportunity and then some, saving from Odsonne Edouard’s low strike in Palace’s clearest opportunity of the game so far – just seconds after the Toffees had had a penalty appeal denied at the other end.

      The flurry of substitutions from either dugout saw the game lose some of its rhythm, with Palace determined to make use of possession in the limited time remaining but finding their way through the Everton midfield blocked by a well-organised wall of blue shirts.

      As the fourth official lifted his board to begin an additional six minutes of added time, Virginia made his biggest save of the evening, standing tall to block from Jeff Schlupp when it looked as though the net would bulge. It proved to be the final opportunity, as Everton held firm under intense late pressure.

      While Everton can begin planning for a fourth round tie against Luton Town at the end of January, Palace’s attention turns to Saturday and an early kick-off against title-chasers Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

      Everton: Virginia (GK), Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gomes (Dobbin, 77) , Garner, Onana, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin (Beto, 85), Harrison.

      Subs not used: Pickford (GK), Lonegran (GK), Keane, Danjuma, Godfrey, Chermiti, Hunt.

      Palace: Johnstone (GK), Clyne (Ahamada, 63), Guéhi, Andersen, Mitchell (Riedewald, 63), Lerma (Ozoh, 71), Richards, Hughes, Schlupp, Edouard (Mateta, 71), Eze (França, 63).

      Subs not used: Henderson (GK), Tomkins, Ebiowei, Adaramola.

      As it happened: